The family of a woman killed here in 1998 says it’s devastated her murderer has been given day parole.
“His release only serves to depreciate the seriousness of his crime, undermine respect for the laws of this country and marginalize our family’s loss,” Anita Johnstone said of the National Parole Board decision regarding Christopher Alexander who was convicted of killing her sister, Linda LeFranc.
Alexander, who has been in jail for 13 years, over half of which has been spent at an aboriginal healing village in the Fraser Valley, was released to a halfway house in the Fraser Valley area this week.
He’ll be working on a farm that provides work experience for people under conditional release from prison.
Alexander was 17 years old in December 1998 when he broke into LeFranc’s southside townhouse, stabbing her 83 times with a knife taken from the kitchen.
Now 33, he’s to report to authorities twice a week, refrain from using alcohol or illegal substances, cannot use social media and is restricted from traveling outside of the general Fraser Valley area.
But Johnstone said she has no confidence that Alexander’s activities will be properly monitored.
“I’m totally petrified,” said Johnstone. “He’s not capable of following the simplest of instructions.”
“My serious, serious concern is the lack of supervision when he’s out there.”
Johnstone and other family members have sat through numerous previous parole board hearings through which Alexander has been granted absences of various kinds and for different lengths of time.
Other than reading a victim impact statement, family members have not been allowed to take a role in the hearings.
Throughout those hearings, Johnstone said Alexander has never taken accountability for killing her sister.
“He has not dealt with the issues that have caused him to commit such a violent crime,” she said. “I believe he is an untreated offender.”
Based on his conduct and activities, Alexander can apply for full parole six months after being granted day parole.
Johnstone and other family members attended the April 23 parole hearing which resulted in the day parole decision.
It marked the last time it will have an opportunity to sit through a hearing because further decisions affecting Alexander won’t require a formal session.
“That’s it, we’re done. We’ve lived through this 17 years now,” said Johnstone.
“And this is our life sentence. The system is not about my sister or the victim at all. It’s about the offender and what the offender wants. It’s just so heartbreaking.”
The family had mounted numerous petition campaigns, including ones online, in a bid to keep Alexander in jail.
Still, Johnstone said she and the family will continue to advocate for longer prison sentences and more rights for victims and their families.
Arrested in late 1999 following an extensive RCMP undercover operation in which an officer posing as the “Mr. Big” of a criminal gang got Alexander to admit to the murder, he was sentenced following a trial here in 2002.
Originally charged with first degree murder, Alexander was convicted of second degree murder.
He was a neighbour to LeFranc who was 36 when she was killed. Her seven-year-old daughter was in the house at the time.